Wizards owner Ted Leonsis: ‘It’s LeBron’s team in L.A. How did it go last year? Did anyone look happy in L.A.?’

Only two teams have multiple players who’ve been on the team the last eight years:

Golden State built a dynasty. Washington…

Well, it’s not too late to achieve meaningful success. The Wizards still have Wall and and are stating belief in him. They also somehow got Bradley Beal to extend his contract another year.

That Beal extension shocked me. Not only is Beal likely leaving money of the table, he delays an opportunity to join better team.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis indicated some of his sales pitch to Beal on The Habershow:

If you get a young player, and they’re a part of building your culture, and the team and the culture really becomes theirs, right? That’s the key thing. And so, if you’re gifted and you’re going to get paid in the NBA, why go play and be the third wheel, right? It’s almost – it’s counterintuitive to me. Because it’s LeBron’s team in L.A. How did it go last year? Did anyone look happy in L.A.? So, Brad and John and the players here, they’re a part of something. And it’s going to be really, really hard. But if you’re in it together.

It’s a little weird for Leonsis to call out another team like that, but I’m all for people saying how they feel. I’m just unconvinced LeBron James and the Lakers are a good example for Leonsis’ point.

The Lakers didn’t have a second star next to LeBron James last season, let alone a third star. They were miserable because they were a losing team and management/LeBron callously put most of the roster into trade rumors.

Ask Chris Bosh about being third wheel on LeBron’s team. Ask Kevin Love about being third wheel on LeBron’s team. Both had difficulties, to be sure. But both have also expressed how gratifying it was to fill their roles on championship teams.

The better comparison is Kevin Durant, who joined the already-elite Warriors. There are real questions about Durant’s happiness – even while winning two championships – in Golden State. Durant was far from a third wheel. He asserted himself on the Warriors. But he couldn’t shake the feeling he didn’t fit after joining an established elite team.

Maybe he would’ve felt differently if he stayed with the Thunder and led them to a title. Or maybe not.

Everyone is different. Some players want to join other stars. Other players don’t. There’s no “right” way to handle a career.

Washington was fortunate to find a star in Beal who wants to stay – at least another couple seasons. Who knows whether Beal will feel the same way as his contract nears expiration? But the Wizards at least have a chance to build an appealing team around him. It’s on them to take advantage of the opportunity.

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